A key person in the expansion of Council Bluffs Community Schools’ career-technical education program will leave the district July 1 to return to his alma mater.
Paul Hans, coordinator of career and technical education for the district, will become superintendent of Wynot Public Schools in Wynot, Nebraska.
“Paul has been instrumental this past three years as we have developed our career and technical programs, such as our TradeWorks Academy and the Certificate Advancement Program that includes Culinary Arts and Health Sciences,” Superintendent Vickie Murillo said. “He has also formed critical business and industry partnerships for our programs and successfully completed grant applications to generate significant financial support for the programs.”
The work has been fulfilling for Hans, who had a strong background in CTE.
“It’s been a crazy three years, but it’s been a lot of fun,” he said.
A major part of expanding the CTE program has been collaborating more extensively with Iowa Western Community College, Hans said.
“Just watching that partnership grow has been rewarding,” he said.
A combination of family, friends, the family farm and the school was pulling Hans back to Wynot, he said. He thought about moving back there a few years ago when the school district was looking for a CTE coordinator.
“At that time, I wasn’t ready, and my family wasn’t ready,” he said. “Now, the kids are off doing their own thing. Maybe this is the right time to help that district make a change.”
Wynot Public Schools is headed in a positive direction, Hans said.
“The current superintendent is an innovator,” he said.
Some years back, when small districts like Wynot were consolidating with others or shutting down, Wynot switched to a four-day week with longer days to make up the difference. The district saved enough money on utilities to eventually put it back on solid ground.
And Hans is looking forward to helping his brother farm the place where they grew up.
“That’s kind of my therapy,” he said. “There’s still a little farm boy left in me.”
His other therapy is playing the drums. He has played in several bands over the years and currently keeps the beat for a group that includes Pottawattamie County Attorney Matt Wilber.
Hans didn’t grow up planning to be a teacher.
“I really didn’t know I wanted to do that until college … I took a history class as absolutely fell in love with history, so I thought maybe I should teach it,” he said.
Hans earned a bachelor’s degree in secondary education at University of Nebraska at Lincoln and a master’s degree in education administration at University of Nebraska-Omaha. He started out in the Council Bluffs district as a social studies teacher at Thomas Jefferson High School, then served as principal at the Tucker College and Career Center for five years.
After that, he took a hiatus from the district to launch career academies at Papillion-La Vista Public Schools in Nebraska.
He also served as principal at Roncalli High School and St. Albert Middle/High School before returning to Council Bluffs Schools in 2018 to build up the CTE program.
His wife, Jill, teaches third grade at Rue Elementary School.